This Never Gets Old

What Should Sunday School/Children's Church Look Like?

A recent encouraging article in which Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington D.C. was featured contained this quote:

As morning light filters into a fourth-floor room on a Sunday, students huddle on tiered seats, listening to a lecture on substitutionary atonement. The teacher poses a tough question, but a hand shoots into the air, eager to answer with a recitation of the week's memory verse from I Peter 3:18: "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God."

Scholars and seminarians call this systematic theology. Kindergartners at CHBC just call it Sunday school.

This is what Sunday School/Children's Church should be. Lord, may it be so.

When Will We Stop Making Excuses?

In light of 1.3 billion people on the planet who have no access to the Gospel whatsoever, when will we stop making local excuses to justify our disobedience to the global need of the Gospel?

Jerry Rankin, president of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, addresses this in his recent post. Here's a sampling:

It is being pointed out that America has the fourth largest population of lost people of all the nations of the world. Many are sincerely saying we should not neglect the lost around us in order to divert resources to other nations. We even claim Jesus tells us to first of all be responsible for reaching those at home. While acknowledging our global responsibility, many rationalize to say we will never reach the world if we don’t give priority to our churches at home—after all, we have to build the foundation for calling out and sending missionaries...

...Often after I preach for a mission emphasis in a church the pastor will say, “Dr. Rankin, we appreciate your missions challenge. We are trying to build up our programs, reach our community, pay off our building indebtedness…then we are going to get involved in missions.” But it never happens. Churches that are focusing on their own programs and community seldom fulfill the criteria for moving on to a compelling missions involvement...

...However, we could document the churches that are adopting unreached people groups, providing opportunities for volunteer mission trips, nurturing a climate for calling out missionaries and giving generously and sacrificially to missions. Invariably they are effective in local outreach and growth...

...A church or individual doesn’t try to grow with the intention of eventually being obedient to God’s mission. When we as a denomination, and as local churches, are committed to the Great Commission, God will bless us in what we need to do locally. The reason there is such spiritual lethargy, negligible growth and dying churches is because we are neglecting the reason God has called us as His people.


This Is How You Promote Your Church

Wonder what the status of the Church in America would be today if for the last thirty years our focus had been more of what we see in this video as opposed to fancy foyers, awesome auditoriums, and me-centered messages?
It's not too late to start over.


Healthcare Is Nothing We Should Fear

Needless to say I was not pleased with the Healthcare Bill passed yesterday and still pray that it might be derailed somehow. My disappointment lies more in what it means for the life of unborn as opposed to a concern over healthcare itself.

With that said, as followers of Christ we need not be engulfed with fear and anxiety. Russell Moore reminds us of that today with this great post.

Here are two especially encouraging/convicting quotes:
Is it a problem that some of us who are tranquil as still water about biblical doctrine and ecclesial mission are red-faced about Nancy Pelosi and the talking heads on MSNBC? Is it a problem that some who haven’t shared the gospel with their neighbors in months or years are motivated to vent to strangers on the street about how scary national health care will be?

If we were half as outraged by our own sin and self-deception as we are by the follies of our political opponents, what would be the result? If we rejoiced as much that our names are written in heaven as we do about such trivialities as basketball brackets, what would be the result?

So if what you’re afraid of is a politician or a policy or a culture or the future of Western civilization, don’t give up the conviction but give up the fear. Work for justice. Oppose evil. But do it so that your opponents will see not fear but trust, optimism, and affection.


What Not To Say to Those Who Are Suffering

Ed Welch makes a great point on what not to say to those who are suffering. How many times have we said to those who are suffering or had said to us in the midst of our suffering, "If you need anything, please call me--anytime."

He gives the following reasons why this statement is not helpful:

  • If “comforters” knew anything about real hardship, they would know that sufferers usually don’t know what they want or need.
  • If comforters knew anything about the sufferer, they would know what the sufferer wants or needs.
  • If comforters really knew the sufferer, they would know that he or she would never make the call. Never.
The comment is the equivalent of “ta ta, see you later,” “luv ya, call me sometime,” or some other mindless goodbye. The speaker is not giving any real thought to the comforter’s needs and circumstances, and the suffering person knows it.

So what should you say to those who are suffering or what should you do to be helpful?

First, they listen and understand the suffering person. They pick up on to-do lists that are growing and impossible. They identify tasks that are especially important...Next, they do it. They get the dog groomed, do the dishes, drop off a meal, cut the grass, baby sit the kids, bring a meal over and eat it together, clean the house, give a ride to small group, drop off a note of encouragement and then another and another, arrange for a hair cut, and so on.

And in responding in this way, we imitate how God has responded to our suffering:

It is the time you give to creative strategizing that is the power behind these acts. That is unmistakable love that mimics the strategic planning of the triune God’s rescue mission. He planned and acted even before we knew our real needs.

There are many things that the Lord is teaching us through our time of trial and "suffering." But recently, one of them seems to be the Lord teaching us that when we see others suffering, don't wait for them to call you. Run to them and find our what needs to be done and do it. That's what Christ did for us. He didn't wait for us to call out to him and tell him our need. The truth of the matter is that we were so dead in our sins and trespasses that we did not even know we had a need. We were so blind that we did not even know we were blind. Instead, the Lord raced to us from heaven, seeing our great need of a Savior and did what needed to be done, atoning for our sin and giving us His righteousness.

The Local Church Needs More Pigs

J.D. Greear answers the question today on his blog, "On What Grounds Should You Move To Another Church?" He warns against the church falling into the common "highly consumerized, no commitment, what's in it for me" mindset of the culture.

He focuses on the need for people to be committed to their local church and the biblical mission/vision it has to reach a lost world for the glory of God. He points out that the local church doesn't just need people who will make contributions, but who are committed. What's the difference?

"It's like the difference in how the chicken and the pig contribute to your eggs and sausage breakfast. The chicken makes a contribution; the pig is committed. Summit needs more pigs."

I think most local churches need more pigs.


Now & Always Resting In His Blood & Righteousness

B.B. Warfield:

"There is nothing in us or done by us, at any stage of our earthly development, because of which we are acceptable to God. We must always be accepted for Christ's sake, or we cannot ever be accepted at all...This is not true of us only when we believe. It is just as true after we have believed. It will continue to be true as long as we live. Our need of Christ does not cease with our believing; nor does the nature of our relation to Him or to God through Him ever alter, no matter what our attainments in Christian graces or our achievements in behavior may be. It is always on His 'blood and righteousness' alone that we can rest."


'Happiness' Is Not The Goal In Raising Your Children

Great post from Missy on what our goal in parenting should be: not our children's happiness, but their holiness.

Here is a few excerpts. Be sure to read the entire post here.

My goal as your mom is not your happiness, sugars. In fact, I spend at least half my day making you unhappy. If I had a nickle for every tear that falls in this home on a daily basis, we wouldn't need to worry about college tuition at all.

Happiness is fleeting, sweet babies. That means it doesn't last. It's a quick feeling that comes from a funny movie or a heart shaped lollipop or a really good birthday present. It's great. I love to be happy. But happiness is a reaction that is based on our surroundings. And our surroundings are so very rarely under our control. Even when - especially when - we think they are. So no, I absolutely don't want you to spend your life chasing something that has so little to do with your own abilities. You'll just be constantly frustrated...

...I don't want you to be happy. I want you to be holy. That means, I want you to seek that God-power to make you content. I want you to want the Kingdom of God more than your own kingdom. And that's hard, babies, that is so hard. And that usually means passing up a lot of what the world considers happiness. But it means that you will achieve blessings directly from God that most of the world never dreams of because they are too occupied with the achieving the perfect birthday present!

...Darlings, we love you so much. You will never even grasp how much we love you until you have children of your own, and then you'll get it, and then you'll apologize for the ways you treated us ;) But our goal is not to please you. Our goal is to please our Heavenly Father. And nowhere in the bible does the Lord command that we save our money to send our kids to college.

But the Lord does command us to care for the orphan around fifty times. He does tell us to care for the poor around 300 times. He does tell us that when we care for the neediest, we are caring for Jesus Himself. And in chapter six of the book of Matthew, He tells us to seek His kingdom first, and let Him worry about the rest, like college tuition. Because it's all His anyway...